Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Week and the Weak

I received a book last weekend from my very dear friend Penny, one of inspiration, one from a horses point of view, and I thought, last weekend, I would draw from this book and write here, that didn't happen this past week. The week was, well lets just say slow to start, with a breakdown and then long to the middle where the day didn't end, and then finally an end to an end. The week that just kept going. Those weeks are usually ones that lead up to an event that I have looked forward to for some time but not this past week. All this past week held for me was moment after moment of weakness, not a week I was looking forward to in the least.

So at some point I picked up the book I received and began reading. The beginning, introduction, read like a dance between a person and horse, the interchange or possibilities, the promise of kindness, and the acceptance of a herd. Odd, I know, especially to those of you who are not horse people. As I read the first story Emily's Song,  I was touched by the thought of a little girl who was abused her entire life and then, without warning or understanding, found herself at a petting farm, in the stall of an abused pony who was not so much nice anymore, lying at his feet, singing to him. Ponies, for those of you who do not know, can be some of the meanest little horses around. Mostly by nature and mostly because people find them easy to abuse, mostly because of their size. Most of the ponies I read about always lead me back to Merri-Legs (from Black Beauty), a story of abuse and dislike for ponies because of their size and ultimate temperament, as with the pony in this story. Only this pony, at one point in his life, was loved by a child - and the singing of and abused little girl brought him back to that memory of love, and he stood, tentatively over her, watching and listening to her sing as she lay at his feet. The story does not talk of future encounters between the two, only that Emily asked her foster parents to go back to the farm, it does not talk of the old pony, who stood quietly as a child lay at his feet, it leaves you to imagine what happened.  And so I did. There is a story of a man who gave all his loyalty and heart to a king, a king that was jealous of him and so he decided to have him killed. The man ran and took refuge in the lands of his enemies, in caves alone, and he was allowed many times to kill the king and did not for he loved him at one time. Many times through this story, the man named David, cried out to God to make his broken heart heal, to give him peace in his time of grieving, to change the king's heart. That never happens, not really. But in all his cries, he writes this Psalms 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." I don't believe that we are ever really healed, not the way that we think or understand. David's healing came in a different way, altho he never really lost his love for Saul his king, not deep down in his soul.  The same is true for the pony in my book, he loved his child, the one he grew up with, the one that loved and cared for him. The one that no matter what would talk to him on sunny days and brush his mane until it was silky. But the child, like most, grew up and went away and all that was left was an adult who didn't love the pony. A human who didn't care for him, a human who broke the pony's heart and the pony in turn became mean. In his mind, there would be no human who could show him love, none that would be nice and not try to hurt him. His heart was broken to humans and there was no healing it, and that's what his owners/rescuers believed. Who knew that a little girl, who didn't speak, who be the one who offered healing to the pony's heart. I imagine that the girl went back as often as she could to sing to the pony, and in those time of lying on the stall floor under his feet, his broken heart was healed. And for Emily, those times of lying on the ground singing to a pony who could with no thought hurt her with his hooves, she found a friend who would listen and her broken heart and life was healed.

I have no doubt that the wounds that these two characters in my story were bound but there were scares left, ones that remained throughout their life, ones that each saw in the other. Horses for me have held the same kind of healing, a healing that forces me to aware and vulnerable at the same time.  "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. " He has done that for me in a mare that yesterday showed me that I was, without a doubt, hers. He is healing me in ways that I never would have thought, through a horse.

There are ways in this life that healing happens the without us even knowing it happens. One day our heart is so broken that we can't move, can't see the next moment, and we are weak beyond thought. I had five of those days this past week, moments of weakness so great that I didn't think I'd get through them. And every day, I'd go out and feed the horses, and everyday, they, all three of them, would knicker to me. And I know for food that was their calling, but yesterday, I had each call without food being offered, each came to me without being given anything, and each showed me that I am part of their herd. A healing I didn't see or expect.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something Missed

Don't you hate it when you're watching a good movie or TV show and you glance away for a millisecond and something happens on the show that is not words but something you have to see to understand. And for 10 minutes you're asking "what'd I miss?" And no matter how many of your friends and family tell you what happened its never the same as seeing it for the first time. It sometimes comes close but never is it exactly right. I missed something this weekend, something that was needed, for lack of a better term something almost required. Why did I miss this something? Mostly because I'm stubborn and bullheaded and tried to work through an injury without going to the doctor. Not unlike many of you, I'm guessing, I have had injuries due to my life-long handling and dealing with horses but in most cases the injury heals itself and within a couple weeks I'm as good as new. On rare occasions, and I mean very rare, I get hurt and its elongated and doesn't heal with constant movement and working through it, this was and still is one of those times.

So, what did I miss? A hike and camping weekend at Grandfather Mountain. Seems menial when you read it doesn't it? And if I gave you facts like, the hike to the first campsite (on either side of Grandfather Mtn) is 2 miles with packs, you'd probably think "we'll that's nothing to miss". But what if the hike is not what I missed? I mean that's what I typed, that's what was going on, a 2 miles (that turned into a 3 mile) hike to a campsite, a windy hike to the peak of Grandfather and a long packing hike down, all in 2 days. Sounds exactly like what I missed....or was it? Maybe some background is needed. There was a group of friends who started a Venture Crew in Raeford, they were led by a married couple who was strong and directed to help these friends begin an adventure. One of the requirements for Venture Crewing, is the kids have to come up with, plan and make happen an adventure. Around 2 years or so ago, the crew started doing these adventures, I was blessed to take part in 2 of them. The one that I missed was their trip to Grandfather Mtn.  This crew of friends, as you may gather, included Kaleb and Thad. Last fall, as a memory trip, the group of us, family and friends, took the trip to Grandfather Mtn, only on the Daniel Boone side of Grandfather (the opposite side the crew camped on). This year, the plan was to take the trip on Profile the same trip that the crew took 2 years ago. I didn't go due to the injury, and last night for the first time really in 3 days, I got to talk to Penny. She expressed deeply she wished I was able to have gone, she likened the trip to none-less then a break through, and this is how she explained it.  "The trip was difficult, its very strenuous and the climb up was rocky and hard to maneuver. But the  trip down, was painful. Its extremely steep and the trek was focused only on getting from point A to point B while carrying a heavy weight. It was a break through for me because it was like what we have been going through the past year." She said I could be wordy and use this, and I hadn't planned on using it until this morning when I realize I had missed something. She likened the trip to our journey through the pain of loosing our sons, the strenuous trip of struggle going thru the Saturday we spent together at Cape Fear was pain that we didn't even know was going to become more painful than we had even begun to imagine. The days, months and years that have followed have been that treacherous downhill trip full of unforgiving pain, carrying a heavy weight, and the parking lot is far from in sight, even now.

When I realized this morning what I had missed, crying ensued (mostly because of what I missed and partially because of the steroids I'm on) and I turned to a most unlikely place for me, a devotional. Its funny to me how when I most need to hear something I most don't want it said. The devotional was short and talked of a journey today that was an obstacle in my way that I would be looking for a way around; at the end of the devotional was a scripture (as with every day), so I turned to that reading and found something else. Isaiah 35:8-10 "And a highway will be there, it will be called the Way of lion will be there, nor any ferocious beast will get on it, they will not be there. But only the redeemed will walk there and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."  How I can not wait for that time of gladness and joy to return and to be overtaken by them. How I long for the sorry and sighing of this life to flee away. How long will that time be before it comes to pass?

There is nothing unusual or different about Isaiah from that trip that Penny and the family took this weekend, only the words would read like this: There is a mountainous trail, one that those who endure pain and suffering travel. And their footsteps are not clear and easy, the steps are difficult and some hidden. They dodge the ever so ferocious beasts that travels their trail and hides obstacles in their way. Tho the trail is difficult and painful, their feet are steady, their laughter returns and fills the air, their joy of memories and longing for peace fill the spaces as they trek to the next ridge. On the trail they have found that their feet are not their own, that the Lord has made their feet unwavering, that He has gone before them to move the beast from their path and He will lead them home. When I listened to Penny talk me through the experience I was glad to hear her words. Even though I missed the same things that Kaleb had experienced that weekend 2 yrs ago, and even more so, the break through of feeling as tho, eventually, the downhill trek will become easier and there is, just around the switchback, a plateau of leveling along the ridge. There have been those ridge walks, some longer than others and some to short to even realize that there was a ridge, but they have been there. But I missed the likening, the time to walk where the boys had walked, the knowing that eventually there is an end and a parking lot where I will get to go home.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I am doing a study on Esther and throughout it (altho only 3 weeks now) I have learned and reflected on the craziness of being a girl. Lets face facts, most girls are maniacal, self-centered, self-driven, and petty towards each other. In high school, its all out for yourself, no matter who it is and where the cards fall, its all about making yourself the 'bigger' person. Girls, by far, are the first to cut a friend down, whether in front of that friend or behind their back. Girls start rumors about girls whom they are jealous of and for the most part girls are just mean. (That is the focus of our study this week, meanness.)  Girls are so mean that there are movies about mean girls, movies about mean boys who are not mean on their own but driven by a mean girl, media stories about women who are so mean that they make men do their mean things for them and let the men take the proverbial fall.  Everywhere you listen and look, girls are mean in this world.

It's amazing to me that I have 2 daughters who are so close to each other and so different from one another too. They are like beans and peas in a pod! The connection between my girls, well it's not unlike that of best friends who are stuck together at the hip forever, do everything, have their own language, and can look at each other and know without a doubt and without words that the other knows exactly what is being thought. They support each other in just about everything, encourage each other in all things, and, even in those moments of annoyance, they still believe in each other with all of their hearts. Jennifer, our oldest, is so nice that even when she wants to be mean, she just isn't - her temperament is that of a passive heart - if something bothers her in one way or another she will take it to God and work through it on her own or write you a letter to let you know that in the end she was just having a bad day.  Sydney, our youngest, is sweet and mild mannered and yet has a sarcastic streak about her that is jokingly funny and hintingly hurtful. Although she says things in the moment, she never really means them and in truth I believe she has a "class clown" heart - she is truly heartbroken over the smallest things and doesn't know why people are mean when they shouldn't be. She will be the first to say she's sorry over a small misunderstanding and the first to cry over a big misunderstanding.  My girls, a pea and a bean living in a pod together. They understand each other better than anyone and will say whatever comes to mind to the other without regard for a 'filter'.  Neither are mean at heart and I see them growing away from those that are mean and yet they don't run from them; they are not afraid of those that are mean but do not retaliate mean for mean.

So why are girls so mean? And why does the world/media make girls the meany? Well I don't know - but I know what girls look at - they look at the outer being, the one that says 'look at me'. Girls see the thing that draws their jealous heart to the surface, the thing that is usually hidden from sight. 1 Peter 3:4 " should be of that inner self, the unfading beauty of gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."  I see this inner self in my girls and I'm sure others do too, altho they may not now what it is or what draws them, that is it. An inner self that is for all purposes a quiet and gentle person who has great friends and is kind to those who are not their friends. An inner self that tells all "I am me, that is all I can be, like me or not". I have 2 daughters who could be mean, both are popular in their own way at school and with their crowd, both are without a doubt able to use cutting words to strike at one another, and yet neither are mean at heart. Both are able to smile at the stupid stuff and make people smile when they least want to; both are the unfading beauty that neither see.

Daughters. Growing daughters to beautiful women, how the time passes so quickly. From giggling girls playing hopscotch to teenagers wearing make-up to fit in, to young adults knowing who they are without make-up and without trying to fit in....daughters.  My hope is that in all things they keep their inner beauty, that they keep their sense of humor and yet hold a gentleness that is unmistakable and unhidden.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Write Something

I know what a stupid title huh?! Write something, that's what I came up with - wow the genius!!! But sometimes 'something' is just the thing to write, or sometimes 'nothing' is just the thing to write. And as always, if you don't have something good to say don't say anything at all...right? Well, I disagree; sometimes saying even the not so good things is the something to say.

So now I have the blank page in front of me and I have no idea what it is that I'm suppose to be writing here, so I decided to just start typing. Believe it or not, this is exactly how I started blogging....just typing, with no real purpose. I believe somewhere in this jumbled up mind of mine there is a title to this writing, although right now it is not for any reason being allowed out through my fingers. It is almost as though there is a basket of fruit in my head and none of the fruit matches.  Ha! Now you have to admit that's funny when you think about it, especially from a woman's point of view. I'm sure that most of the women that I know are multi-takers, take on way to much at one time and somehow in the midst of chaos, we seem to get everything we started finished (albeit a month down the road-it's still completed!).  So there it is, something to write about... a fruit basket! (I bet you didn't see that coming!) So, 'what's in your fruit basket?'

I do, as you do too, have a fruit basket of chaos in my head....most of us, willing to admit it or not, do. My basket, well it's been full of things not to productive and more distracting than fulfilling and goal oriented as of late. Its funny how something takes hold and before long I have a plethora of issues controlling my days and nights. This usually happens when I least need it and somewhere along the way I find that more unwanted fruit make it into my basket. One bad apple can ruin the whole bunch! Well, of all the sayings that I steal, I'd have to say this one is true. One bad apple has not only ruined the bunch but created more bad fruit to go along with it! I wonder most days how to battle keeping the bad things that run through my head at bay, how to make them less part of my thinking and I have yet to find an answer. I have yet to get to a place where, when I need something the most, that thing is not provided. When I want to hear something the most, I never really get to hear it. And in times like this, I usually find that I am more apt to dwell on what I need as opposed to what is needed. What do I dwell on? Well, right now its the needs to feel care for, not in the 'take care of me' sense, but the 'are you ok' sense. Does that make sense? And along with that need I have found that there are lots of times in the past when I have met those needs for others and the same has not been returned. The problem with my dwelling here for too long is during this time, those moments of need dredge  up all the other moments that were not provided. Come on! You know exactly what I'm talking about! Women especially, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that we have a memory like an elephant and when one thing sets us off, its not to far off that we will find a connection to a past thing that relates. Almost comforts and confirms the one thing that we least of all need confirming.

So here I am, this basket full of fruit jumbling around in my life and none of it worth eating or sharing. And I wonder, if this is it? If this is what I'm going to deal with for a long time until I can get out of the hole that I am in? Is this the battle that I am stuck in until somewhere in the future a trap door will open and all that bad fruit will just roll out? I highly doubt that will happen but I chose to live with this bad fruit basket or I can chose to have a different one. Gal 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." There's a basket of fruit I'd love to have! One that has no law, unlike the basket that I'm dealing with now. I read this today looking for a scripture about peace, this is not what I was looking for! The need for care is something that I miss now and missed growing up. I have always been hard-headed and it has made for me to be something that I'm not...strong.  And in the life that I created, due to circumstances and situations, I have put myself in a position where I show no need for care. I know that in my head but my heart still says that I need it.  So how do I get this basket of fruit, one that will give to others as opposed to giving to myself? I have no idea! But, somewhere in my body dwells the Holy Spirit, I don't know where He is right now, and I am having trouble finding Him, hearing Him, feeling Him, but He's there....albeit somewhere. And with Him there is a place that can take care of all the needs that I have and someday I'll get to find it, someday I'll get to open the trap door and dump all this bad fruit out and be filled up with the fruit that Galatians 5:22 refers too. But, until then, I have to persevere through this storm of bad moments, press through to a place where I don't have a need to feel cared for by a law but a fulfilling of being cared for  and loved because I am.

Write something but what? Maybe the things that are holding me back from Him are the things that I've let myself believe I need from this life. Maybe the things of this life are just that, things. Maybe what I need is something from a place where I refuse to go as oppose to having a problem finding. I don't know the answers but I know that somewhere along the way through this journey of non-stop depression and piling on bad fruit, there is an end. And end with out a law that says 'this is what you need' but an end that writes this on my heart 'I am what you need, I will give you love, joy and peace, I am the goodness and faithfulness that you look for, and I will take care of all your needs.'